Exploration: an overarching focus for holistic development

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Stodden, David
Lakes, Kimberley D.
Cote, Jean
Aadland, Eivind
Benzing, Valentin
Brian, Ali
Draper, Catherine E.
Ekkekakis, Panteleimon
Funagalli, Guido
Laukkanen, Arto
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2021 BJMB: Brazilian Journal of Motor Behavior
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Promoting the development of health and well-being across the lifespan involves navigating a complex and intertwined labyrinth of biological, social,and environmental factors that change over time. Yet, approaches to positively impact developmental trajectories of these factors remain relatively siloed in academe and are generally discipline-specific with a singular focus in their application (e.g., physical activity, motor development, social-emotional development, cognitive development). Discipline-specific interventions also are derived from a multitude of theoretical frameworks that are generally applied to only one domain of development. Attempting to amalgamate and apply various frameworks to promote holistic development would be useful, yet arduous and impractical based on our history of discipline-specific approaches. However, the process of identifying simplicity from complexity has been applied in many domains of science (e.g., neuroscience, biology, ecology, physics) in order to promote a more palatable, yet comprehensively encapsulating, conceptualization of complex mechanisms/phenomena. To quote Einstein, “It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience”1(p. 165). Unfortunately, our siloed approaches to interventions designed to promote human development have, perhaps, been oversimplified and void of the essence of the complexity of human development. Quoting another eminent researcher (with a focus on human development), “It all comes back to the importance of action for learning and the fundamental interrelatedness of the different parts of the human being (the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical parts) and of all human beings to one another[...]. The best and most efficient way to foster any one of those (such as academic achievement) is to foster all of them”2(p. 789). Thus, is it possible to provide a unifying theme for intervention that places an apriori focus on, and applies, an overarching catalyst of development to any intervention to promote holistic development?
This article is published as Stodden, D., Lakes, K. D., Côté, J. ., Aadland, E., Benzing, V., Brian, A., Draper, C. E., Ekkekakis, P. ., Fumagalli, G., Laukkanen, A., Mavilidi, M. F., Mazzoli, E., Neville, R. D., Niemistö, D., Rudd, J., Sääkslahti, A., Schmidt, M., Tomporowski, P. D. ., Tortella, P., Vazou, S., & Pesce, C. (2021). Exploration: an overarching focus for holistic development. Brazilian Journal of Motor Behavior, 15(5), 301–320. https://doi.org/10.20338/bjmb.v15i5.254. Posted with permission.